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Public Sector "least reliant" on LinkedIn

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HR heads working in the public sector are least likely to deploy LinkedIn for their recruitment, according to an independent study among 100 of the UK’s leading employers conducted on behalf of Norrie Johnston Recruitment. 

Linked OutWith 44 percent working in the public sector say that LinkedIn has no role in their executive recruitment process, this almost twice the average. Furthermore, just one in four (24 percent) report that their internal recruitment teams use LinkedIn, whereas in logistics and retail the figure rises to 76 percent and in professional services it’s 86 percent. The report on the findings entitled, An Executive Recruitment Game Changer, suggests that while a third of the world’s professionals are registered on LinkedIn, 50 percent of public sector personnel heads do not ever look at LinkedIn profiles.

Even when a senior candidate has applied for a job, a quarter of HR heads in the public sector don’t think to take a look at them on LinkedIn. This could be because public sector decision makers appear most sceptical about what they see on LinkedIn – with just 3 percent believing all that they see when they look at a profile. Indeed, in terms of usefulness for assessing the backgrounds of senior candidates, they grant LinkedIn a usefulness score of only 2.6 out of ten. In stark contrast, HR heads in manufacturing give it a score of over 6, leisure and catering give it a score of almost 7, professional services score LinkedIn over 7 for usefulness and logistics and retail give it a score of over 9.

However a lack of understanding of LinkedIn’s power could also be part of the problem as when compared with senior recruiters in all other industries, those heading up HR in education, government and the health sector are least likely to be familiar with LinkedIn – rating their knowledge level at 6 out of 10. Despite this lack of familiarity and scepticism, public sector HR heads are putting money into social media platforms – 26 percent advertise for senior executives on LinkedIn and 9 percent advertise such roles on twitter and a further 16 percent are considering advertising on these platforms. Norrie Johnston, who heads up the executive search and interim management agency behind the research comments:

“In their keenness to cover all the bases and reach out to all of the available talent, public sector organisations are embracing LinkedIn as an advertising medium, which is good to see as there are over 350 million members on the channel at the moment. 

However, it’s a shame that the same organisations are missing out on some of the other possibilities which LinkedIn offers to executive recruitment.” The research bears this out, for instance while 50 percent of companies in the private sector use it to build relationships with prospective candidates before they are even in the market to recruit, just 22 percent in the public sector use it in this way. 

Johnston again: “Clearly public sector organisations have a unique set of recruitment challenges, and so can’t quite harness LinkedIn in the same way as their private sector counterparts, however they still need to stay abreast of the possibilities. LinkedIn is a great way to accelerate the recruitment process. It is eliminating the need for companies to build their own talent pools, and it is making it easier for companies and candidates to get to know each other – even when there isn’t a role to discuss. “Even if they aren’t using these capabilities themselves, public sector organisations should ensure that their executive recruitment firms are deploying the latest LinkedIn know-how and techniques on their behalf.”

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